Hanging Ribs on UDS Smoker

This week I’m firing up my drum smoker and hanging ribs.

If you haven’t tried this technique I suggest giving it a shot. With these hanging ribs, there’s something about Meat dripping on hot coals that just feels right and the color that these hanging ribs develop is as pretty as can be.

I’ll admit the first time I was a little hesitant to try this set up. I was convinced that the ends would burn up, the ribs would over cook, and I’d be fishing bones out of my ash pan; but this isn’t the case at all. Today I’m going to show you how I hang ribs in a drum.

hanging ribs

For this hanging ribs technique you’ll need a drum smoker, a hanging ring, and some meat hooks. There are several types of drums on the market and all of them work pretty much the same. I’ve even built my own out of refurbished drums. This week I’m using my Gateway Drum set up with a rib hanger.

The ribs I’m using on this cook are Compart Duroc, St. Louis Cut Spare Ribs. Take them right out of the package; square the racks up by removing the last bone on each end; then pull off the membrane and any thick fat on the bone side.

hanging ribs

Season each side with a light dose of Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub followed with a light layer of my Killer Hog’s The Hot Rub. Of course you can use your favorite rub or any combo you want.

Next, insert a stainless meat hook between the 1st and 2nd rib on the larger bone end. These hanging ribs are ready for the smoker; just let them hang out on the cutting board until the smoker is up to temp.

To start a fire in the drum, fill the charcoal basket about ¾ full with good lump coal. In the middle place a couple paraffin wax starter cubes and place the basket in the drum. Light the starter cubes and allow the fire to burn for about 20 minutes with the lid off intake vents open. Replace the lid and adjust the vents so the cooking temperature comes up to 300⁰.

hanging ribs

As the temperature stabilizes, place a few chunks of Pecan and Cherry wood on the fire and set up the rib hanger. Place the ribs on the hanger and be sure to space them out evenly. The ribs need to hang in the smoker for about 2 hours.

Every 20 minutes remove the lid and rotate the hanger a quarter turn.

This keeps one slab from cooking more than another; it’s all about even cooking.

hanging ribs

After 2 hours the ribs develop a great mahogany color. You’ll also notice that they’re starting to pull back a little on the bone ends. This is the point where they need to be wrapped.

Be sure to use a pair of heat resistant gloves and carefully remove each slab from the hanger. Go ahead and pull the hanger out of the pit at this point. It’s job is done.

hanging ribs

To wrap the ribs heat up 8oz of Killer Hog’s The BBQ Sauce mixed with ¼ cup of Apple Juice. Tear off enough aluminum foil to completely wrap each slab individually.

Place the ribs bone down on the foil, brush with warm sauce and flip. Brush the bone side with sauce and pour 2 Tablespoons of Apple Juice along the side. Close the foil around the ribs and crimp the ends. Repeat this for each slab.

Place the standard cooking rack on the drum and lay the wrapped ribs on the rack meat side down. Continue to cook the ribs for 1 hour.

At this point tenderness should be just about perfect. Take the ribs off the drum and back inside. Carefully fold down the foil, and flip the ribs over to where the meat side is facing up. Brush each slab with a little more sauce and return them to the drum for 5-10 minutes to set the glaze.

hanging ribs

To cut the ribs, flip them meat side down on the cutting board and use a sharp knife. Slice each rack into 1 bone sections and get ready to sink your teeth into one delicious rib.

The meat takes on a Real Pit BBQ flavor. The moisture is incredible and juice will be running down your forearm before you know it!

hanging ribs

Of course you can cook these same ribs laying down flat on any cooker, but if you get the chance, try hanging them. You’ll see what I’m talking about!


Malcom Reed
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About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at HowtoBBQright.com, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

3 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Kevin January 5, 2017 at 11:57 am -

    Malcom, I really enjoy you site and videos. I’m in the market for a new backyard smoker. Looking for something a little more hands-off that my old trusty offset…Probably a little too traditional for electric, tend to think charcoal or maybe pellets. Been looking at a Humphrey’s cabinet. Even had some crazy thoughts about a BGE. What would you recommend? Usually cook for 6. Sometimes as many as 25. Thanks.

  2. Steve February 3, 2017 at 8:44 pm -

    I’ve been cooking in barrels for many years, just built my “new style” UDS in 2015. Ribs were the one thing I just could seem to get right. I used this method to a T, and they turned out GREAT. Very happy, family loves them. I’ve been getting your emails for about a year, I like the way you explain things and make everything so easy to understand. Your smoked cabbage debuted this past year at our house, for our St.Pat’s feast, probably how favorite side dish ever. You have raised the level of everything I cook in my barrel, thanks for my favorite BBQ site on the ‘net!

  3. Steve February 3, 2017 at 8:45 pm -

    oops, “COULD NOT” get right.

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